Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap

Race number 37 and state number 26 is in the books! I like to have a couple days after a race to process everything about the race and remember all I can about what happened over the course of 26.2 miles. Without further ado, here is the Twin Cities Marathon race recap!

I’ll start the night before the race. Susan and Johnny had a work party (which I mentioned here) so Lane and I just stayed at the apartment and watched some Person of Interest with our pasta dinner. I was tired by 10, so I went to bed early and I was OUT! I don’t even remember hearing Susan and Johnny come in the apartment!


We were close to the race start, so our drive/walk in the morning didn’t take long. It was really nice outside, about 42 degrees, so it was comfortable without being freezing. Before the race I was able to meet up with my old roommate from our DC Intern days, Kate! She was a factor in my picking Twin Cities Marathon too! When I talked about not being sure what race to do, she had read it and told me she was running Twin Cities, that and Susan being there were the deciding factors! It was so nice to catch up, even just for a few minutes!

The race started out great. I felt comfortable, my body felt good, I wasn’t overly hot or cold and the crowd support was incredible! My pace was around 9 min/mile for the first 17-19 miles. Around mile 19 my hip flexor tightened up on me and my pace dropped pretty dramatically after that. I’ve been having problems with my hip flexor for about a year and a half now. After long runs (anything over 10-12 miles, generally), it tightens up and if I stop at all, it can be hard to get going again. It doesn’t hurt and the more I move, the better it feels. I haven’t actually had anyone look at it, so I am self diagnosing as hip flexor, but from everything I’ve read, it makes the most sense.


Anyway, back to the race…I kept running because I knew the difference in stride between running and walking would make my hip flexor tighten up more. I kept reminding myself that even the difference between a walk and a slow run will get me to the finish line faster. I also didn’t feel bad. My legs felt good, I wasn’t having stomach issues, and mentally, I was good. The last two races my head gave out before my body did and that’s tough for me to deal with. When I feel good physically, why does my mind make me want to quit? I kept reminding myself this time around that I was feeling good and there was no reason to stop and it worked.

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The other thing that kept me going was dedicating miles to other people. It was my dear friend Kenda’s birthday on Sunday, so I thought about her during a few miles. My grandpa’s health hasn’t been great for the past few weeks and I thought about him several times. When the song “Cups” came on, I knew my grandma was with me. When “Work” by Jimmy Eat World came on, I thought about my uncle Steve that passed away a few years ago. I read Hungry Runner Girl everyday and she’s been training for a sub-3 hour marathon and her race was supposed to be on Saturday but she got sick the week before and was unable to run. Thinking about what she and others are dealing with is alot greater than being tired. One of my old teachers used to talk about “offering up” your pain and thinking of it as a gift rather than a burden and that is what I did during the race.

It also helped a ton that I was able to see Susan, Lane and Johnny several times during the race. When I can mentally break up the race into smaller sections, I don’t think about how much I have left, I think about that it is only a mile, two miles until I can see my people again. It is only x miles/time until I take my next Honey Stinger and get a boost of energy. When I think about a marathon as a whole, 26.2 miles seems really far! When I break it down into smaller segments, it is much easier to wrap my head around.

I finished in 4:14:27. It wasn’t sub 4 like I was wanting, but until I get my hip flexor issues worked out, I don’t think I’m going to see that number. I am really happy with the race and how things went. Also, in regards to the Black Lives Matter protest, it wasn’t much of anything. They were located about a half mile from the finish behind a chain link fence, a row of police officers, and another lane of the road. They had signs and were saying something, but I had headphones in and couldn’t hear it. Fortunately it was all peaceful and handled really well.

I didn’t go into this goal with any pressure of a specific time I was after. I wanted to feel good and I wanted to think positively for a whole race. I high fived alot of kids and enjoyed the crowds instead of focusing on my watch. I only ever looked at it when I felt it vibrate when it hit a mile, and even then I didn’t look every time. It was nice to have a different focus and to enjoy it for what it was.

I’m going to enjoy this week and take some time off and rest, but still have some active recovery (and a massage!) as well. Then I’ll start back up next week for training for the Thunder Road marathon in 5.5 weeks!

What is the hardest part for you during a race – the mental or physical? What are some of your goals coming up? Anyone else run Twin Cities Marathon or Thunder Road?

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  • 42 degrees is cold to me. I like to race in anything above 55.

    My hip flexor had some issues a while ago. I hope that gets better for you soon. Lucky for me, my brother is a DO and was able to fix it with in a week. I love him! Glad your race went well though.

    • 40s is perfect for me! I get too hot otherwise! It is cool when waiting to start though! How lucky! What did he have you do for your hip flexors?

  • Congratulations.. I agree with Jenny 42 is freezing to me. Glad you had a great race. Mental definitely gets me every time. Have a great day

  • Good job pushing through it. Looks like a great race day! I need to work on my mental game for marathons. I think you have to expect the pain, but I totally want to stop when it happens and I need to get better at pushing through and having a more positive attitude. I found it helpful to have “tribute” miles along the way like you did. Thinking of others is a great way to keep up the energy.

  • What a great race, congrats!
    It’s so awesome you could get through some low points by thinking about others, that’s such a wonderful thing and I may use that next time myself 🙂
    42* sounds delightful to me, that’s pretty much a Michigan morning for me 🙂
    Enjoy a restful week, you deserve it!

  • WOO HOO!! Great job, Sarah!! Congratulations on state number 26 and marathon 37 (good grief – I can’t even imagine); I hate to hear that your hip flexor started complaining, but it sounds like you were able to make the best of it. That mental game is definitely the most important thing, I think, and I’m going to really start working on that during my training for December’s race. I hope you enjoy your massage and some much needed rest!

    • Thanks Tara! I need to work on my mental game more when training but I was happy how the race went! Hoping some stretching and more strength work helps my hip! Can’t wait to hear about your training!!

  • ohhhh good weather for the run too! I’d love to run the twin cities marathon, i miss Mn sometimes! not in the winter, but fall and spring hahah

  • i love your mentality of thinking of someone during a mile and offering up your pain. that is so much better than dwelling on how much something hurts or how bad you want to stop. great job that looks like an awesome time to me 🙂

  • Wow! You are mentally really strong! I need to train harder not just physically but mentally too. I only did one full marathon last year and I will most likely do it again this year but I need to train! Thank you for the motivational story.

    • Thank you! Mental strength is tougher for me than the physical ability to run a marathon. I think treadmill running helps me with that since it can be very monotonous at times. I hope you do another this year – what race did you do last year?

      • I did the Honolulu Marathon last year. It’s hard to find marathons on this tiny island- I think there’s another one up in North Shore but I haven’t heard anything yet about it. Since this year’s will be my second full marathon, I’m still nervous and cannot get over the whole anxiety of training for so long. Mental strength- I don’t know how to train for that! And I don’t own a treadmill (and with our schedules, it’s nearly impossible to go to a gym..) so I’ve never trained on a treadmill!

  • Thank you for your recap!! Congrats again!! When I think of you, this is what I see … Behind your smile is a strong woman with a passion for running and you prove to each and every one of us how experiencing the journey is just as important as a crossing the finish line even if that means not reaching a goal!

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